Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jeff reviews "Les Miserables"

If Val and I go to see a movie in an actual movie theater for the first time since the summer of 2011 before Penelope was born, then I should post a review!

First, I wouldn't call Val and I snobs about "Les Mis," having seen the musical several times, but let me tell you about a titter we had about the locals.

Right as the previews were starting, a group of 50-60ish women sat down behind us and proceeded to jibber-jabber throughout the trailers. When the movie began, one lady asked what "Les Miserables" meant, and the other said, "I don't know, 'The' Something."

Yeah, that happened.

So other than my misery at having this woman then proceed to narrate the whole movie from behind me ("Oh! He shot the kid!"), I can say that Val and I enjoyed the film, both for the music and for that whole "hey we don't have the kids and we're sitting in the dark" thing.

The star of "Les Mis" is the music, the words in the music and the story. I'm not going to lie, I got the chills and a little teary-eyed a few times, and Val was sniffling throughout.

You know it's a movie that folks were feeling deep when the credits roll and it takes a couple of minutes for folks to compose themselves and the women to put away the tissues.

That's not to say that I'm giving four stars to the celebrities and how they sang.

In "Mamma Mia!" I could forgive Pierce Brosnan since it's a happy-go-lucky comedic film. Not as much in "Les Miserables," which demands strong voices and performances.

Hugh Jackman's acting is good, but his voice was a key too high the entire film. I want Valjean to have a deeper voice befitting a guy who could lift a cart off a guy.

His nemesis, Javert, demands an equally strong voice. So Russell Crowe shouldn't have been in the movie at all unless his voice could have been dubbed, which would have been tough since the director shot all of the singing in EXTREME close-ups like it was "Wayne's World."

On the other hand, Anne Hathaway is surprisingly great. When the cast was announced she was the only one I was worried about, so take that, me.

The best singers were, as you'd imagine, the ones you don't recognized because they come from the theater, which I was happy about when it came to my favorite character, Eponine, and other favorites such as spunky Gavroche.

The look of the film was OK, if a little dark and gritty. My favorite scenery was in a colorful garden at night with Cosette singing and Marius finds her and they sing together through the gate.

Usually in the musical their stuff isn't my favorite, and this benefitted from being a movie with close-ups and not watching from the balcony.


Scott Rushing said...
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Scott Rushing said...

As one who has only seen the musical a couple of times, we are surprisingly agreeable. I actually thought about you when I recognized Eponine, figuring you would be pleased by that casting. And Anne Hathaway was amazing...I was in awe at her skill in singing while simultaneously breaking down. So moving.

Jeff said...

Yeah, they definitely proved me wrong with Hathaway. I didn't expect her to be that good. But hey, if she's willing to get her hair cut off and teeth pulled, then kudos!